City Colleges of Chicago will pay $60,000 to settle a federal discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC), the federal agency announced.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Harold Washington College, part of the City Colleges of Chicago system, of refusing to hire Nancy Sullivan, an adjunct professor, for a full-time faculty position because of her age (66).
Sullivan had worked as an adjunct professor in the English department for five years before applying for the full-time faculty position. Despite her stellar record as an adjunct and excellent recommendations from several full-time faculty members, Sullivan was passed over in favor of two substantially younger and less experienced candidates, the EEOC said.
Failing to hire a candidate based on age violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed suit against City Colleges on July 31, 2014, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC v. City Colleges of Chicago d/b/a Harold Washington College, Civil Action No. 14-cv-05864, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and Judge Ellis entered the consent decree resolving the litigation.
This is not the first time the EEOC has sued City Colleges for age discrimination. In 2006, the EEOC sued City Colleges challenging an employment decision strikingly similar to the employment decision in the present case. In that case – EEOC v. City Colleges of Chicago, Civil Action No. 06-cv-4346, the EEOC charged that City Colleges violated the ADEA by refusing to hire another one of its adjunct instructors in its English department for a full-time faculty position. The earlier case was also settled by consent decree.
In addition to providing for the $60,000 in monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit mandates that City Colleges train its employees on age discrimination and report to EEOC any complaints of age discrimination it receives.